In the 1950s, Roy Haynes was one of the great bebop drummers, right up there with Max Roach, Art Blakey, and Philly Joe Jones. He gigged with Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk—nearly every great player of the day. His conception was technically brilliant, infinitely supportive, always sounding fresh.
In the Sixties, Haynes kept up with the times without seeming to think about it. He was able to play with many of the "free” improvisers, adding to the ferment his own unique percussive style, which used every component of the traps set in a highly melodic fashion. He continued to work off and on with an old partner, Stan Getz, and played with younger melodists such as Gary Burton.
In 1970, Haynes formed the first of his own Hip Ensemble(s), and for the past several years has been making music that is absolutely contemporary to the Seventies, but without sacrificing the benefits that result from all his knowledge of the drums and years of experience playing every kind of jazz with so many of the world’s best musicians.
Haynes’s second album for Galaxy Records, Vistalite, features the drummer with the caliber of musician to which he’s grown accustomed: tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson, pianists Stanley Cowell and George Cables, bassist Cecil McBee, and percussionist Kenneth Nash, among others. The material ranges from classic jazz ("Invitation”) to a marriage of improvisation and electronics ("Rok Out”) to a beautiful Stanley Cowell ballad ("More Pain than Purpose”).
Roy Owen Haynes was born March 13, 1926 in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He worked extensively in the Boston area while still a teenager, and then moved to New York after he was hired by Luis Russell in 1945. The great Lester Young hired Haynes in 1947. Two years later, he worked in New York as house drummer at Birdland and several other clubs on the legendary 52nd Street. For a period of about a year, he was Charlie Parker’s drummer. In 1950, he had the first of many tours of duty with Stan Getz. Later, in 1953, he began a five-year stretch with Sarah Vaughan, and after leaving her had a succession of top jobs with leaders including Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, George Shearing, Lee Konitz, Kenny Burrell, Lennie Tristano—in other words, a broad spectrum of innovators in every aspect of the jazz scene.
In more recent years, Haynes has worked onstage and/or in the recording studio with Gary Burton, Stan Getz, Chick Corea, Sonny Stitt, Larry Coryell, and Duke Jordan. For Galaxy, aside from his own albums, Thank You Thank You and the just-released Vistalite, he is featured on Red Garland’s Equinox and other albums to be released later this year.